Thoubal, a mesmerizing town nestled in the beautiful state of Manipur, is an enchanting destination that deserves recognition for its captivating allure. With its picturesque landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and diverse attractions, Thoubal has emerged as a hidden gem waiting to be explored
The majority of Thoubal’s population consists of the Meitei community, Meitei Pangal, and various other tribal communities. The name ‘Thoubal’ originates from ‘Athouba,’ which means brave people, representing the courageous individuals residing in the district.
Thoubal is a haven for nature enthusiasts seeking thrilling trekking adventures, adventurous hikes, and perfect picnics amidst its lush green landscapes. The region boasts an exquisite variety of flora, captivating the hearts of visitors with its vibrant colors and fragrant scents. Additionally, Thoubal’s scenic beauty is enhanced by the picturesque paddy fields that paint a captivating portrait, attracting tourists from all over the world. As an agricultural district, Thoubal showcases the harmonious blend of nature’s bounty and human cultivation.
Geographic location of Thoubal
Situated in the eastern part of Manipur, Thoubal also serves as the headquarters of Thoubal district. With its prime location on the picturesque banks of the Thoubal River, this town holds a special place in the hearts of its inhabitants. Flowing gracefully alongside the town, the Thoubal River is one of the two magnificent rivers that bless the district, the other being the Imphal River. This lesser-known destination is characterized by its lush green valleys, serene lakes, majestic hills, and the meandering Thoubal River, which traverses the region and adds to its ethereal charm.
Things to do and places to visit
Renowned for its magnificent temples and abundant waterways, this town offers an ideal escape that blends the charm of a bustling city with the ambiance of a hidden gem. Adding to its liveliness, the town boasts vibrant marketplaces like the famed Ningombam Laxmi Bazaar and the Athokpam Bazaar to shop for handicrafts and handlooms.
Some of the popular places of interest are:
Khongjom War Memorial
Khongjom War Memorial Complex in Khongjom is a commemorative site dedicated to the Anglo-Manipur War. It is notable for housing the world’s tallest sword statue. This complex serves as a memorial for three Manipuri Meitei Heroes who bravely gave their lives during a battle against the occupying British forces in 1891. The entrance features an arched structure adorned with three pillars, each depicting human figures and three cannons, representing the three martyrs. Additionally, the complex includes statues of three lions, ponds, and a memorial monument situated on a hill, comprised of three towering structures.
Khangabok is one of the largest villages in terms of both area and population. The primary ethnic group inhabiting the village is the Meeteis. The name Khangabok has its origins in the Khangra tree that once covered the area where the village stands today. As settlers arrived and the trees were cleared, the place was named Khangrapokpi, meaning “where Khangra is grown.” Over time, the name evolved to Khangabok. The village offers a few notable attractions, including Ikop Lake, also known as Ikop Pat, which holds great significance in the lives of the villagers. It has served as a vital source for fishing and irrigation purposes.
Yairipok is considered one of the important villages in Thoubal. It was originally inhabited by the Meitei Brahmins and later became home to the Manipur Muslims. The village is renowned for its remarkable structures constructed between 1579 and 1652. One notable edifice is a monolithic sculpture carved in the shape of a tortoise, representing Kurma, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. According to local beliefs, wild elephants occasionally visit this place to pay homage to their deity.
Kakching serves as the primary agricultural town in the city, renowned for its role as a trading hub for fish, vegetables, and rice. The vicinity is dotted with several temples, including Shri Krishnachandra Mandir, Narasingha Mandir, and Viswanath Mandir. Occupying around 100 acres of land, Kakching Airfield holds a significant presence. During the Second World War, it was famously known as Pallet Airfield.
Ikop Lake, locally known as Ikop Pat, is a significant natural water body with rich folklore. Legend has it that it played a role in the love story of Khamba and Thoibi. The lake’s unique saucer-shaped appearance and recent pollution have affected its splendor and wildlife. Situated at 772m altitude, it spans 7.5km in length and 2km in width during the rainy season. Once a popular spot for wildlife and recreation, it has sadly deteriorated due to pollution.
Pumlenpat, the second-largest lake in Manipur following Loktak Lake, is located approximately 68 km south of Imphal and 45 km from Thoubal. Similar to Loktak Lake, the communities surrounding Pumlenpat rely on fishing for their livelihoods. The lake holds significant importance in the lives of the nearby towns. Dotted with numerous small islands, people have begun settling on these islands.
Best time to visit
Thoubal generally has nice weather. It rains a lot, and sometimes the low-lying areas get flooded during the rainy season. The best time to visit is in March and October. From December to February, it’s cold with a little rain. The summers are not too humid. March and October are the most enjoyable months to go and enjoy the place.
How to get there
The closest airport is Imphal International Airport, which is only 25 kilometers away. It has excellent connections to major cities within the country and international destinations too. From the airport, you can easily hire a taxi to reach Thoubal.
The closest train station to Thoubal is located in Dimapur, which is situated 230 kilometers away.
The most convenient way to reach Thoubal from nearby towns and cities is by road. Regular bus services are available from various cities and towns within the state.
There are also buses that operate from Guwahati (Assam) and Dimapur (Nagaland), allowing tourists from neighboring states to visit the place.
Alternatively, travelers can opt for self-driving as Thoubal is well-connected to its surrounding destinations through a network of highways and roads. National Highway 102, National Highway 39, and National Highway 53 provide access for visitors.
It is to be noted that an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required for non-locals to enter and stay in the Indian state of Manipur. The permit can be obtained through the official website of the Manipur Inner Line Permit System, which is designed to regulate and monitor the entry of non-locals into the state. The permit can also be obtained from designated offices in the state, and it is usually issued for a period of 15 days, although it can be extended. The ILP is intended to protect the rights and interests of the local population and to maintain peace and security in the state.